If you didn’t already know, last Friday night at Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum K Records grandmaster Calvin Johnson and guests Tender Forever and The Hotness played to an intimate crowd of Thanksgiving hangovers.
Johnson acolytes expecting something reminiscent of his other groups the Go Team (not to be confused with the UK Go! Team—they’re much more excited!) or Dub Narcotic Sound System might have been disappointed—Calvin was folk-ed up and strumming simple chords on his acoustic or going acappella and letting his deep voice churn slowly out of him like wet concrete.
All things being equal, it was CJ’s friend, touring partner and label mate Tender Forever (Melanie Valera) who stole the show. The French tomboy expounded on a variety of subjects including the comfort of men’s underwear, pumpkin pie (“We don’t have pumpkin pie in France. I can’t even say that word. Punmk-keen.”) and being outed by two guys on a bus in Oregon. Valera pulled an audience of shy boys and museum girls on stage with her as she sang songs from her upcoming album The Soft And The Hardcore, managing to get the fellas to dance (as best she could, hands in pockets, hoodies up) as she hopped around and climbed over rows of seats to sing inside the crowd instead of in front of it. Her laptop might be cardboard, but the performance was programmed for enjoyment.